Jan 23, 2013 Jason Emerson Uncategorized
The Empire Brewing Company is one step closer to building its proposed farmstead brewery complex in Cazenovia after the village board unanimously voted last week to approve annexation of nearly 22 acres of the company’s land into the village.
The approval, given by the board at its Jan. 7 meeting after completing an environmental assessment of the project, will allow the proposed brewery be added to the village water system, which brewery owner David Katleski has said is essential to the project’s success.
“Annexation is important for the brewery because we will need access to village water. Annexation was granted last Monday and I am grateful,” Katleski said.
Empire’s proposed project is to build a “farmstead brewery” on Route 13 just across the village line in Cazenovia that would not only have the finished beer product but also would showcase the entire beer-making process from how the hops and malt are grown and harvested to how the beer is produced. The new location will brew 60,000 barrels per year, and is intended to take pressure off Empire’s current brewing operations in Syracuse and Brooklyn, which are now running at full capacity.
Katleski, a Cazenovia resident, presented the business’s future plans to village and town officials and petitioned for village annexation last July. Since then, Katleski has been moving forward with architectural and engineering plans for the project and has completed the State Environmental Quality Review Act assessment form, which was reviewed by the village board at its Jan. 7 meeting. The SEQR is a state-mandated assessment to gauge environmental impacts of a development project on the land.
According to the Empire Brewery’s statements on the SEQR form, of the total 21.683 acres of land in the lot, 2.6 acres will be developed for the brewery building with 19.083 remaining undeveloped or used for agriculture. The building itself will measure 45 feet in height, 83 feet in width and 185 feet in length.
Construction will take eight months and be completed in one phase; the project will create 10 new jobs during construction and 75 new jobs once the project is complete; the brewery will not routinely produce offensive odors nor operating noise exceeding regulated levels; the facility will use approximately 10,000 gallons of water per day; it will not create significant traffic increases or impacts.
The village board, in its capacity as lead government agency for the project, stated in its portion of the SEQR form that the project will have “small to moderate” impacts on the land itself due to the planned commercial and agricultural development. Other than that, the village declared there would be no impacts — as defined by the SEQR — on existing water bodies, groundwater or surface water; air quality; plants or animals; historic or archeological sites; area aesthetics; open space and recreation; or existing transportation systems, community energy sources or noise and odors.
The board also declared there is not likely to be any public controversy related to the project.
“This is a very widely-supported, popular proposal,” Cazenovia Mayor Kurt Wheeler told the Cazenovia Republican. “It’s a win-win: it brings economic stimulus, tax stimulus and keeps the land for agricultural use.”
One concern about approving village annexation for the proposed brewery has been the impact its operations could have on the village sewage system in terms of the added volume of liquid as well as solids in the liquid needing to be broken down, Wheeler said.
Katleski told the board on Jan. 7 he will accommodate the village “in any way, shape or form” to satisfy their concerns and needs on the sewage issue. He said Empire plans to install three different levels of solid removal in its on-site wastewater treatment system that will remove solids before the water even gets to the village sewage plant. He said of those removed solids, the yeast from the fermentation tanks will be used as cattle feed and the leftover from the hops production can be used as fertilizer. He plans to install a centrifuge to remove all other remaining solids, he said.
With the village annexation complete, Katleski next will submit the project to the village planning board for site plan and architectural review, as well as apply to the village board for a change in the zoning district. The land currently is zoned for residential use, which must be changed in order to build the multi-use (agricultural, commercial and tourism) brewery.
Wheeler expects the zoning change request to be discussed by the village board at its February meeting, with an anticipated public hearing and probable vote on the subject in March, he said.
The planning board has scheduled a public hearing on the project for 7:15 p.m. Monday, Feb. 11, in the village hall meeting room, said board Chair Rich Huftalen.
The planning board already met with Katleski on Monday, Jan. 14, as an “informal update in anticipation of the official hearing,” Huftalen said.
The Cazenovia Town Board voted at its Jan. 14 meeting to approve the village’s annexation of the brewery property and its SEQR declaration.
Katleski told the village board on Jan. 7 that he still hopes and intends to break ground on the project this spring and be open for business by the fall.
Jason Emerson is editor of the Cazenovia Republican. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jason Emerson is editor of the Cazenovia Republican and Eagle Bulletin newspapers.